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┬ź Hot Town, Summer in the City | Main | I Know You Thought I'd Skipped the Country, But... ┬╗

July 15, 2007

My Adventure in L.A.--And, I Didn't Get a DUI!

Greetings Readers!

I'm sorry that I was moderately M.I.A. last week, but I was in L.A. from Wednesday - Friday at a conference for work.

On Wednesday, I arrived relatively early (L.A. time) to LAX. My co-worker and I took a cab to our hotel, The Millenium Biltmore, in downtown L.A. This is where the conference was being held, and we got a decent group rate, so I didn't have a say in what hotel to stay at, but I have to say, this was a very cool place.

The hotel was a historic landmark, and has been home to presidents, kings and Hollywood celebrities since it opened in 1923. The interior of the hotel was just gorgeous--Italian-Renaissance architecture with ornate columns and vivid frescoes. It had a very European feel to it. The Biltmore was once home to the Academy Awards, and the hotel's Crystal Ballroom is where the Oscar statuette was first created.

There was a hallway that had huge pictures of some of the grand parties that were held in the ballroom--including the Academy Awards. They reminded me of that picture in The Shining that you eventually see Jack in. Ha. I was waiting to turn the corner and see the creepy twins!

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Wednesday afternoon, my co-worker and I took the subway to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It was fun to see all the stars, but I have to say, it was a bit disappointing to see what shops the stars were in front of. I expected cute clothing stores, places to eat, etc. They were all tacky Hollywood-ish crap, and as well as a wide assortment of places to buy sex toys. It was a bit disconcerting to see Bing Crosby's star outside of a place I could purchase handcuffs and vibrators. But, oh well.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
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As we walked along, I saw one of the many Church of Scientology buildings, the Kodak Theater, and Grauman's Chinese Theater. The ESPY's were being filmed that night, so they had the street blocked off in front of the Kodak for the ESPY red carpet. Very cool.

That evening we had a reception with the folks from the conference. I crashed pretty early that night since my flight that morning left Indy at 7 a.m.

The next day (Thursday) I had conference sessions all day. I bolted immediately from the last session to run up to my room to change, and then head out to Beverly Hills to shop. I hopped in a cab and asked the cabbie to take me to Robertson Blvd. to shop (where you can find a lot of the fun boutiques like Kitson, the Ivy restaurant, etc.). My cabbie said, "You want shop? I take you to Galleria." I said, "No. I don't want to go to there. I want to go to Robertson." He said, "Ok. I take you there." I nodded. I started looking down at email on my Blackberry for awhile. When I looked up, we were on the freeway--in rush hour! Now, I don't know L.A. at all, so I figured I ought to just roll with it. Maybe you needed to get on the free way to get to Beverly Hills. Well, 40 minutes later, he pulls up to a mall--the Galleria in GLENDALE! I looked around and saw a J.C. effing Penney. What the hell?

I said, "This is NOT Robertson Blvd." He started getting loud and said, "I take you to mall to shop." This time I got louder and said, "No! Take me to Robertson Boulevard and Third immediately!" He looked pissed beyond belief, but I certainly didn't travel across the U.S. to shop at a damn mall.

I finally arrived (another 40 minutes later) and informed him I was not paying the $75 cab fare because he screwed up. He knocked $25 off of it, and while I still didn't think I owed that much, I wanted to be done with him.

I walked in and out of all the shops. It was a blast. Bought a cute top at Kitson--designed by Sally Hershberger and also purchased by Mary Kate and Ashley, Rachel Bilson, and Jennifer Aniston. Here is a pic:

7 p.m. rolled around, and it was time to meet up with my old friend, Brandon. I've known him for years (grew up in Vincennes with me). He and I sang together, were in musicals, together, etc. He works out in L.A. at the Beverly Wilshire (more on that place later in the posting) as a concierge and does the acting thing as well.

He picked me up and we went to a bar called Social Hollywood to have a drink. It was a very cool place. A little dark, though. Ha. I had a Pomegranate Martini that was quite yummy. We had to scoot because we had 8:30 dinner reservations at Mr. Chow. On the way to dinner we passed the infamous In 'n Out Burger where Paris was going the night she got pulled over.

Now, if you haven't heard of Mr. Chow, you live in a hole. Ok, just kidding--but you clearly don't follow celebrity gossip. It's one of the "it" places in Hollywood, and you can almost always see a celebrity or two there. We pulled up, and paparazzi were standing out front. They lifted up their cameras when we got out of the car, but looked utterly disappointed when they saw little old me. ;) The paparazzi look as disgusting and dirty as they do in the magazines.

We were 7 minutes late for our reservation, so they gave our table away. So annoying, but what do you do? Luckily, since Brandon is a concierge, he knew the hostess, and she said she'd get us in as soon as she could. We stood around and talked, grabbed a drink, etc. We were standing near the door, and all of the sudden, right next to us was Star Jones and her hubby, Al. She looked lovely in a blouse and khaki pencil skirt. And yes, she is just as slender as she appears. However, her head looks humongous on that tiny body. Very disproportionate. As she was leaving, she looked to who I assume was her publicist, and said, "So, I'm just going straight to the car. No talking or waving." Ha.

We finally got seated. It was an action-packed place. Very loud; people seated on top of one another, etc. We took a look at the menu--everything sounded yummy--and so we opted for the fixed price deal. $58 and they brought you a variety of options. It ended up being PERFECT. The food was sooooo good!

During dinner, I looked up, and two tables away being seated was Naomi Watts, Leiv Schreiber, and some random. She was in an adorable white blouse and looking very pregnant; he was in an orange hoodie. They laughed over dinner, ate some chicken-type deal on a stick, and just seemed like run of the mill people. She's as cute in person as she appears.

A bit later, Rosario Dawson walked by and went to the upstairs part of the restaurant. She's stunning in person, and has flawless skin. She came down about 40 minutes later and left.

We wrapped up dinner and walked down the street to the hotel where Brandon works, the Beverly Wilshire. All I have to say is, "WOW." This place was amazing. Bran gave me the tour, I saw the pool, the cabanas w/ plasma screens in them, the amazing spa, the ginormous floral arrangements EVERYWHERE, etc. Unfortunately, the hotel was completely sold out, so I couldn't see a room. Probably a good thing, as I most likely would have gotten drool all over the place.

As we were walking around, we were walking across the driveway in between the hotel's two buildings, and Brandon leaned over to me and said, "I'm pretty sure that guy over there is Usher." And, sho nuff, it WAS. He had a cap on so it was hard to see, but I could tell it was definitely him when I he walked right by me. He had a huge Louis Vuitton backpack on.

Oh, what a night! It was great to see my old friend--and to have some celebrity sightings. Oh, and to have a fabulous meal in the process!

Friday morning I had more sessions for the conference, and then it was time to head to LAX to fly home. I kind of hoped to spot someone fun in the airport, but no dice. As I was walking to my plane, I figured my celeb sightings were over. HOWEVER, little did I know someone was waiting to be spotted on the plane back to Indy in first class. No, it wasn't Peyton. It was none other than super-mooch, porn star himself, Kato Kalin. HA! He was sitting in first class with his horrendously frosted hair and sunglasses. I just shook my head and headed back to my seat.

For a conference, this certainly had its up moments! :)

Posted by Lawren at July 15, 2007 05:20 PM | Trackbacks (0)

You Said

Silly Kato, he is going to Indy all the time for some reason ... usually racing events. He thinks people care who he is, so he shows up at them all the time!

I stayed in the Biltmore for a week about 3 years ago, and it was nice. Downtown doesn't have much, though, aside from that and the Standard Hotel (roof-top pool, cocktail area). You can find many people at the Standard, but for the most part, downtown LA is a hole. That, along with most parts of Hollywood, need a celebrity makeover.

Says: Iceman at July 15, 2007 07:29 PM

Agreed. Nothing too exciting downtown. But, like I said, I didn't have much choice in our location since I had to be where the conference was. Glad I got the chance to get out and see other things. Too bad I didn't have time to get to the beach, though!

Says: Lawren at July 15, 2007 08:54 PM

Sounds great! I miss great trips on the "company's" dime!

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